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Old 01-12-2006, 10:30 PM   #1
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LFS Advice

It has been about 4 months since my last water change. Today I called the LFS to come out and do a water change (I simply can not do it myself, for I have injured my back). The guy came out and tested my water. He said it was "perfect". He said as a result of the amount of macro, rock, and coral in the tank, the tank is basically self sustaining. He did not end up doing a water change and actually suggested to not do them unless something drastically changed. He suggested getting trace elements and adding them to the tank to make up for those lost in time.

Here is my question... Do any of you not do water changes regularly? Have your results been favorable?

This is this LFS bread and butter, doing water changes and maintance on tanks… so I really don’t think he would steer me wrong and miss out on that cash flow.

TIA for your help!

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Old 01-12-2006, 10:34 PM   #2
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I've been advised on this site to "not add anything you don't test for," meaning if you're going to add chemicals, etc. you should make sure you need it.

IMO, with a closed system, you should do some water change at some point, but that's just my humble opinion.
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:45 PM   #3
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The trace elements he said to buy are as follows:

Seachem Reef Kalkwasser
Seachem Reef Advantage Magnesium
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Old 01-13-2006, 01:11 AM   #4
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I think you add kalkwasser to increase calcium, but it also affects ph and alkalinity or something, so you don't want to just add it unless you need it. As for magnesium, you should test for it also before you add it to make sure you need it.

Regular partial water changes should add back trace elements, so you shouldn't need to add them, but let me get you a second opinion...
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Old 01-13-2006, 01:18 AM   #5
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I sent an e-mail to an advisor, but I've been told many times that regular partial water changes are necessary for the health of your tank.
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Old 01-13-2006, 07:15 AM   #6
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Can you pick up a gallon or so of water at a time?

For a system like yours changing out small amounts two or three times a week would aid in replacing any trace elements.

IMO water changes even on this small a level is almost always a win win proposition.
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Old 01-13-2006, 07:26 AM   #7
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I believe in PWC`s. They are a way of replacing chems that are taken out of the water by natural means and your skimmer. If you did water changes you should have to add very few supplements to your tank. Calcium, trace elements and bufferings are a few examples
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Old 01-13-2006, 07:49 AM   #8
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While certainly advocate for regular water changes, the size and type and stocking levels and parameters of the tank may dictate frequency. Larger tanks with consistently good water parameters can go with fewer water changes. IMO, four months is a bit long. As you all know, doing partial water changes not only removes impurities from the water but also adds needed trace elements that get depleted over time. For me, water changes are the easiest way to accomplish this. I do a 3gal water change weekly on my nano reef and a 20gal water change every 3 weeks on my 72gal reef.
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Old 01-13-2006, 09:37 AM   #9
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Agreed with Brian. The smaller the tank the more the need and the frequencey. There is no real substitute for proper water changes but not only for trace element replenishment but for pollutants. Until recently, conventional test kits will not tell you what the level of organics is within the aquarium. The more "A typical" tests simpley tell you how efficiently the biofilter is working with the bioload put upon it. Organics build up is the one main thing that leads to poor animal health within the tank and opens the door to opportunistic pathogens. Water changes is the easiest means of reducing that potential threat.

In regards to the additives used, the kalk and Mg are common for many reef type set ups where water changes may not keep up under normal circumstances but it should not replace water changes, only add to what they can do. IME, the typical trace element "soup" purchased from the LFS containing odds and sods in varying ratio's are dangerous and more often than not cause harm to what could be a properly running ecosystem.

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Old 01-13-2006, 10:08 AM   #10
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natman, I can not lift more than 5 lbs at any time. I wrecked my dirtbike riding trails and hit a tree... its not good.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I will share it with my husband when he gets time to help out. He is away on military orders right now.
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Old 01-13-2006, 11:18 PM   #11
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If you're making your own water, maybe you could have your husband fill a 33-gallon trash can for you and condition it or use ro water and add your salt, whatever you do, then have an empty can sitting near the tank. You only need to change about 17 gallons (20%). I'd keep the lids so that you can cover them to keep them clean so you can make your water change at your leisure. If you're changing water, say once a month, you could just siphon out your water into the empty can and maybe use a pump with tubing to put the new water into the tank from the new water can. Then your husband, who I'm sure is wonderful and understanding, can dispose of the old water for you. You could also cut the top of a one-gallon water jug and just dip the new water from the can into the tank, one slow scoop at a time.... can you tell I have a bad back? I'm not sure how much a gallon of water weighs, but you could move as little water as need be at a time so as to not lift too much.

If you're picking up water from the lfs, just have hubby pick it up for you and put near the tank, maybe dump it all into a trash can so you can dip it a little at a time.

This is basically what I do, I have trash cans with wheels, so I can just wheel them back out to where I keep them. I marked the outside of my cans so that I know how much to fill it up without guessing.
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Old 01-13-2006, 11:33 PM   #12
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I have a 55g and I do a water change of like 3 gallons every week
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Old 01-14-2006, 12:35 PM   #13
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natman, I can not lift more than 5 lbs at any time. I wrecked my dirtbike riding trails and hit a tree... its not good.
Ouch, hope that gets better. As far as the water changes, you don't need to lift if you can get someone to move the pails from point A to point B. Use high velicity powerheads. Siphoning water out will employ gravity but putting it back will require a powerhead attached to a hose. Would take a wee bit longer but save your back any aggravation.

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Old 01-14-2006, 12:45 PM   #14
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Heh I just did my water change from the basement.. I know all too well how heavy water can be with a bad body..
I just went to the extra expense, got a 33g trashcan, mixed up the water in it with a heater/powerhead.. dropped a mag7 in it with 30 ft of tubing attached to it and pumped the water upstairs hehe.
Lots more cost, LOTS less work..
(of course, I had to change out about 20% of my water..bout 20g..that's alot of gallon jugs and up/down stairs)
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:26 PM   #15
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I have a beginner question?Are pwc.s performed with Water that has been purified?
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:33 PM   #16
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This is a follow up on my prior question.Do most of you have an RO/OM unit?And is that something that should be considered as an initial investment prior to the start of even begininng?
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Old 01-14-2006, 01:36 PM   #17
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Ro/di units are prefered
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Old 01-14-2006, 02:36 PM   #18
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Ro/di units are prefered
But not always needed. But for $100 off ebay, I'd get one.
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Old 01-14-2006, 03:10 PM   #19
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JPloman, I am sorry for your tragic accident. I do hope you recover quick and like brand new.

I see that you have a refugium. That would help a lot on your nitrates. If you can't do water changes, I do hope your husband can do it for you. Take care.
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Old 01-14-2006, 06:29 PM   #20
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If they are not needed then what is? What can be used. If you go to LFS you`ll probably get RO/DI anyway.
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